Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


8 Teeth to Eat You

Author: Theodore Defosse
06/24/2002 | Splendid E-zine | | Album Review
Eastern Youth are not named after kitties, and probably don't wear Mickey Mouse shirts when they play. Fans of Shonen Knife or Lolita 18 should still be fascinated, though, as the group's hardcore sound is far from typical. The guitar playing in "Nisokuhokohkouta" has flourishes of the Wild West, with strings hit like unruly cowboys in the whorehouse. These are aggressive, unruly, maddening attacks, with a touch of mythic shame delivered in the choruses. There, more traditional Japanese melodies dance themselves into the basic Ramones punch of their verse parts, and the contrasting sounds fits like Tampopo within The Seven Samurai. This is music of conflicting cultures -- young against old and past against the future. It's great that Cursive will bring their loyal fanbase to this wonderful band, a new discovery for me.

And while I already own Domestica, the four songs that open 8 Teeth are the first time I've paid much attention to Tim Kasher's group. Kasher is a wonderful teller of adolescent sex dramas, and in the lead-off track he has constructed a mini-opera, complete with pangs of sweat. The supporting music is dutifully dramatic and intense, authentically reproducing the feelings in the music. No hints of Japan's past creep through, yet Cursive are the most unconventional of the two rock bands, with melodies fit to follow the abrupt starts and stops of the lyrics. If Kasher's voice was not strong, a mess would ensue, but he's like a Bono -- a rock star stud with a powerful wail that will find mainstream radio one day. -- Theodore Defosse